Day 44, More Than This

As often, I am drinking a malt. This time I'm in Dolores and it's chocolate. A terrible cover of Bryan Ferry's More Than This is on the radio. The original is brilliant: "You know there's nothing more than this." Of what comfort is that?

I woke up this morning to a tent that smelled of cold pork. The human body sweats a liter of water in sleep, and mine had a high ratio of Fat Albert's pulled pork. It was kind of the bears to spare me.

After packing, I bumped into John with whom I've been friendly since getting into Telluride. He has dreads, sweatpants, and is in his mid-30s. I saw him smiling at the free concert, smiling his way down main street, and smiling his way to the gondola with a bike. He's just a nice guy.

John has a weird favor to ask me. I tell him anything, which, by the way, is bad policy. John worked at Golden Gate State Park. I will end my trip there. He worked there with a woman who used to guide kids from Oakland on confidence building rafting trips. She drowned on one of those trips. John and some friends buried her -- actually buried her, with their own shovels.

There is a plaque in her honor hidden between Sausalito and a town that begins with an M. He asked me to leave something there for her, from him. He said it could be a pine cone.

I will be looking for the perfect pine cone, or a really round rock, and I will leave it with her because I said I would.

I went back to Maggie's Bakery for breakfast. Today I was joined by Dan Pearlman. Dan is the inventor of the halogen lamp. He made it for the movies. It was supposed to be a miniature sun; a black body that glows with color when heated to 3700 K. He sold the patent, but he won an Academy Award for it.

We have breakfast for 2 hours. Dan is in town before he's due in front of the Supreme Court to argue his latest case that, under the Constitution, the government does not exist.

Dan sought me out actually. He'd wanted to eat breakfast with me yesterday, but I was with the cycling geophysicist and family. Dan is also a cyclist. He rode a bike around for 3 years, living off patents and money he made as a film producer, and then road magic and the kindness of strangers. There were days when he'd find 20, 40, 100 bucks stuck in his bags.

He recommended the desert. Once, when riding practically-abandoned highway 50 in the desert, he came upon a large guy carrying an even larger cross. The cross had a little wheel in back. He asks the guy if he's religious.

"Not particularly," the man says. He just liked the idea of the cross. Isn't it a bit weird to be walking around with a cross in the desert?

"Isn't it a bit weird to be riding around with a bicycle?"

Further up 50, he spots a large, er, spot on the horizon. Clean the glasses, put them back on, the spot grows bigger. Soon the spot is passing over him at 1000 miles an hour. It was a supersonic jet. It knocked him clean on his fanny.

Further further up 50 he sees an antique store. He heads in. Everything in there is smashed into pieces.

A: I'm so glad you're here. This is a good day.
D: Excuse me?
A: I was just about to go bankrupt.

It seems that every year or so, this woman goes out and buys a bunch of glass antiques. She puts them right on the edge of her high shelves. Then she waits for some flyboy to line up on the highway and have the Air Force buy her a new set of china ... and then some.

Dan has run for President. His name was on the ballot. He has also run for governor of New Mexico. You see, there's lot of competition at the lower levels of government, but only a few candidates at the higher level. No harm, no foul is a motto.

His case before the Supreme Court is also a longshot, but it is being heard. He's gonna go on Bill Moyers beforehand and then head out into the desert to think on it. He holds it as self-evident (axiomatic) that 2/3rds of the population need to vote yay or nay to elect an official. Obama got a little more than half of a lot less than half of the population, ergo he's illegitimate. Ditto McCain. Ditto GWB. Ditto everyone. Ergo, the thing is undemocratic.

In its place, he hopes to put a voting machine that allows every American to call in or go online and vote for their preferred candidate (Sanjaya?). Even though this trip has shown me how intelligent and generous many Americans can be, I can't believe that we wouldn't just vote in our best interests and put the future off.

The farmer sees the future. The bro in Telluride does not. Experiential living is liberating until your (occasionally philosophical) unwillingness to live for tomorrow closes off some doors. Again, a good question to ask is, where are the children?

He wished me good luck in my life and we parted.

I left Telluride late but an easy ride got me into Dolores early. I'm in a restaurant that wants me to pay for my water and that has made me really angry. I'm off to the massive reservoir down the road to go swimming.

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